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Machángara River’s Rights Have Been Violated by Pollution - Court Ruling

© AP Photo / Eraldo PeresView of the forest in Combu Island on the banks of the Guama River, near the city of Belem, Para state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023
View of the forest in Combu Island on the banks of the Guama River, near the city of Belem, Para state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023 - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.07.2024
Ecuador is one of the few countries that recognize the rights of natural features not to be degraded or polluted.
A court in Ecuador ruled on Sunday that pollution has violated the rights of a river running through the capital of Quito. An article of Ecuador’s constitution recognizes the rights of natural features, including the Machángara River, which served as the basis for the ruling.
The complaint, on the river’s behalf, was brought by the group Kitu Kara. The Ecuadorian government has appealed the ruling, but in the meantime they will have to come up with a plan to clean the river.

“This is historic because the river runs right through Quito, and because of its influence, people live very close to it," said Darío Iza, who is from the group Kitu Kara.

According to the report, the city is responsible for dumping various liquid waste and sewage into the Machángara and then encounters a “near-total lack of treatment of the wastewater that is dumped into it”. It also has average levels of 2% oxygen, making it difficult for aquatic life to thrive.
“The river carries away tons of garbage that comes down from gullies and hillsides,” said Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature.
A similar suit was reported in late June, when prosecutors in the US state of Arizona released a memo outlining homicide charges against big oil companies for the deaths that occurred during last summer’s heat wave. The consumer advocacy non-profit Public Citizen said that the state could pursue reckless manslaughter or second-degree murder claims for the heat wave.
Also in June, the state of Hawaii and a group of 13 young Hawaiians came to an historic settlement two years after the young Hawaiians sued the state Department of Transportation for failing to protect their “constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment.”
The total number of climate cases such as these has more than doubled in the last five years and is expected to continue to surge, says a UN Environment Program and Columbia University's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law report from last year.
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